Wall Street poised for a lower start on auto sector woes, ahead of data, G-20 summit

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U.S. stock futures declined Wednesday, indicating Wall Street could start the second quarter with a drop as concerns grow regarding the auto sector. Also in focus is economic data due out today and the G-20 summit, which is plagued with many differences, reducing hopes leaders would achieve much in the way of concrete measures.

According to Bloomberg, President Obama believes bankruptcy is the best option for Chrysler and General Motors (GM). Reuters reports that one option is to split the automaker and form a new company of GM's most profitable parts. Automakers will also be reporting March sales today, with experts estimating a 41 percent drop in sales, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is trying to rally the world's leaders of the top and emerging powers to help cope with a global economic downturn ahead of the G-20 meeting set to start Thursday in London. Already comments from leaders point to perhaps unbridgeable differences as "French President Nicolas Sarkozy said a draft agreement for a summit of world leaders doesn't do enough to crack down on tax cheats as Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso criticized Germany's unwillingness to increase stimulus spending."

Overseas, most Asian stock markets advanced Wednesday, but European markets fell. Car companies (and other exporters) gained as the dollar gained in recent days and as their U.S. rivals struggled for survival. Still, the contraction in manufacturing among Asian countries continued as many of the manufacturers are export-driven and have seen demand shrivel. In Japan, the business sentiment indicator fell to its lowest level on record, while in Europe, a manufacturing index rose in both the euro zone and in the U.K., but still indicates contraction.

Economic data on tap today:
  • March ADP Employment Change, due at 8:15 AM
  • February Construction Spending, due at 10:00 AM
  • March ISM Index, due at 10:00 AM
  • February Pending Home Sales, also due at 10:00 AM
Oil prices fell below $49 a barrel ahead of the weekly crude inventories numbers set to be released at 10:30 AM.
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